20 Great Games for 3-Year-Olds

20 Great Games for 3-Year-Olds

Searching for games for 3-year-olds that are equal parts delightful and developmental? We’ve got you covered. Read on for our top picks!
Looking for games for 3-year-olds that will entertain and educate all at once?

We’re here to help.

Playing games is vital for children’s development, helping those little brains and bodies develop in all sorts of ways.

From promoting creative thinking and problem-solving to helping to cultivate social skills, games are more than just a way to pass the time.

In fact, play is such a big deal that it’s recognized by the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights as a right of every child.

We’ve put together a list of games of all types that are perfect for the transition out of toddlerdom.

Ready to dive in?

Let’s go!

In this article: 📝

  • How do I entertain my 3-year-old at home?
  • How long should a 3-year-old play alone?
  • What game can a 3-year-old play?
  • Best games for 3-year-olds
  • Board games for 3-year-olds

How do I entertain my 3-year-old at home?

We get it — lives get busy. And finding the time to put together a smorgasbord of activities for 3-year-olds can be a challenge.

Peanut’s here to help.

While all kids develop at their own pace, here’s some of what your little adventurer might be up to right now so that you can find activities that are a good fit.

They’re likely able to:

  • Run and jump, and walk upstairs
  • Stand on their tip-toes
  • Ride a tricycle
  • Stack blocks
  • Draw straight lines and copy a circle
  • Dress and undress themselves
  • Name colors
  • Know their name
  • Chat in short sentences
  • Remember simple rhymes and songs
  • Know the difference between big and small

They’re also beginning to share and play with others.

Keeping this all in mind can help you navigate what might be appropriate for them at this age.

How long should a 3-year-old play alone?

There’s a lot of ideas here for ways to play with your toddler, but some of these can also be great ways for your toddler to be entertained solo while you get something done nearby.

By 3-years-old, they’re getting better and better at playing on their own, so you can probably get at least ten free minutes out of these fun ideas.

And in fact, many experts believe that it’s something that should be encouraged.

You may have heard about the benefits of independent play for young children (basically, playing alone).

It can help stimulate their imaginations, encourage them to problem solve, and teach them patience.

And even if they’re playing on their own, it’s vital that they are supervised at this age.

Sure, you can work on your laptop or make lunch while they’re hard at play, but make sure you can always see them and hear them.

What game can a 3-year-old play?

Ready to dive in?

Here’s a list of our favorite games of all shapes and sizes for kids to play solo or as a group.

Best games for 3-year-olds

Pro tip?

Many of these games can be hot favorites at birthday parties.

1. Musical statues

Play music for them to dance to. Tell them that when the music stops, they have to stand as still as a statue until it starts playing again.

You can choose to make this game competitive by getting them to sit out if they move when they’re not supposed to.

The last child standing is the winner.

But just dancing and stopping with the music is also fun.

Mama’s choice!

2. Kids karaoke

Little kids love singing and dancing.

And all you have to do to make karaoke age-appropriate is get everyone to join in all at once!

Teach them a simple song.

Putting easy actions to the words goes a long way.

3. Duck, duck, goose

By 3 years old, they may just be ready for this classic game.

Get them to sit in a circle.

Whoever is “on” (possibly you to begin with) travels around the outside of the circle, patting each child gently on the head, saying “duck.”

When that gentle tap is accompanied by a “goose” rather than a “duck,” things get exciting.

The goose has to chase the person who’s “on” around the circle.

And the person who’s “on” has to try and sit in the place of the goose before they catch them.

4. Hide-and-seek

For little ones, mark off a small area that they’re allowed to hide within.

It may help if a grown-up is the seeker to take the pressure off.

Remember to compliment their brilliant hiding places!

5. “Simon says…”

This is another classic that you may have played as a child yourself.

“Simon says… touch your toes.”

And everyone needs to touch their toes.

“Simon says… wiggle your ears.”

And everyone needs to wiggle their ears.

“Pat your head.”


Simon didn’t say that.

So this time, don’t copy!

6. Pass the present

Wrap up a prize in multiple layers of wrapping paper.

Between each layer, place a little prize (so that everyone gets something).

Play music and pass the present around the circle.

When the music stops, whoever is holding the present can unwrap a layer.

And if the idea of passing the present is a bit much, passing a balloon or a ball to get used to the idea is a great place to start.

7. What’s the time, Mr. Wolf?

Kids line up behind a line and you stand apart with your back to them.

They yell, “What’s the time, Mr. Wolf?”

You say a time, like “It’s three o’clock.”

If it’s three o’clock, they should take three steps toward you.

Five o’ clock, five steps.

But if you respond, “Lunch time!” they have to run back to safety before you can catch them.

8. Pin the tail on the donkey

This one never gets old.

All you need is a large picture of a donkey without a tail.

Blindfolded, they need to try and stick a tail in the right place.

Because they’re still so little, it’s best to guide them there when they have their eyes closed to make them feel as safe as possible.

9. Bubble blowing

This is a really simple way to have an incredibly good time.

Blow bubbles and see how many they can pop!

You can also teach them to blow bubbles themselves.

10. Treasure hunt

For 3-year-olds, you can make this one super simple!

Hide some prizes around your garden or house and unleash the toddlers!

Just make sure there’s a prize for everyone to avoid tears.

Board games for 3-year-olds

Ready to kickstart a lifelong love of family funtime?

Board games are a great way to do so.

And there are so many options that are perfect for your thriving 3-year-old.

11. Elefun and Friends

This adorable elephant plays music while it blows butterflies out of its trunk for kids to chase.

You can get it here.

12. Banana Blast

Your toddler’s job is to pull bananas from the trees until the monkey jumps.

This game comes with a fun 24-piece puzzle.

This can be a fun one for independent play.

Here’s where you find it.

13. Candy Land

This popular game allows little travelers to adventure along a delicious path to the Candy Castle.

It’s a great intro to quest games.

Get Candy Land here!

14. Count Your Chickens

This is a great game for encouraging collaboration.

Players have to work together to help Mother Hen bring her chicks back to the coop.

Here’s where you can get a copy of this game.

15. Dominoes

If you spent your childhood delighting in the mechanics of your domino set, you might want to pass that love on to your kids.

It’s a very colorful way to introduce your kids to STEM concepts.

This is another great one for some solo playtime.

Check out this Large Dominoes Set.

16. Let’s Feed the Very Hungry Caterpillar

Based on the classic book by Eric Carle, this exciting board game has little players collecting cards to transform the caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly.

If you’re looking for card games for 3-year-olds, this is a great introduction.

Here’s where you can find it.

17. Bingo Games for Kids

If you want to get the whole family involved, try this comprehensive bingo set that will help your little one recognize words and pictures.

Get it here.

18. Colorama

This fun game is a great way for your toddler to develop their knowledge of shapes and colors — and have a whole lot of fun while doing so.

Get matching here.

19. Lucky Ducks

This adorable game is both “wacky” and “quacky” — and a great way to learn colors.

Meet your lucky ducks here.

20. Feed the Woozle

This award-winning game is as delightful as it is educational.

Helping with everything from language development to balance, feeding a woozle is a great way to make friends and learn new skills.

You can get yours here.

If you’re looking for more inspiration about games for 3-year-olds, or to share your great ideas with others, head over to the Peanut community.

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